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Trajectory optimization of flexible link manipulators in point-to-point motion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2008

M. H. Korayem*
Robotic Research Laboratory, College of Mechanical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
A. Nikoobin
Robotic Research Laboratory, College of Mechanical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
V. Azimirad
Robotic Research Laboratory, College of Mechanical Engineering, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


The aim of this paper is to determine the optimal trajectory and maximum payload of flexible link manipulators in point-to-point motion. The method starts with deriving the dynamic equations of flexible manipulators using combined Euler–Lagrange formulation and assumed modes method. Then the trajectory planning problem is defined as a general form of optimal control problem. The computational methods to solve this problem are classified as indirect and direct techniques. This work is based on the indirect solution of open-loop optimal control problem. Because of the offline nature of the method, many difficulties like system nonlinearities and all types of constraints can be catered for and implemented easily. By using the Pontryagin's minimum principle, the obtained optimality conditions lead to a standard form of a two-point boundary value problem solved by the available command in MATLAB®. In order to determine the optimal trajectory a computational algorithm is presented for a known payload and the other one is then developed to find the maximum payload trajectory. The optimal trajectory and corresponding input control obtained from this method can be used as a reference signal and feedforward command in control structure of flexible manipulators. In order to clarify the method, derivation of the equations for a planar two-link manipulator is presented in detail. A number of simulation tests are performed and optimal paths with minimum effort, minimum effort-speed, maximum payload, and minimum vibration are obtained. The obtained results illustrate the power and efficiency of the method to solve the different path planning problems and overcome the high nonlinearity nature of the problems.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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